Connie Van Horn's Biography
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                    The following biographical information will be of very little interest to very
                    few people, but as my high school classmates and I are approaching our
                    50th reunion, we are starting to reconnect and be interested in what each
                    other has been doing all these years. Also, my grandaughter has been
                    needing family information for her various school projects, and this may
                    help her.

                    Born in Pierre, South Dakota, 2/21/35- (Corinne Jean Stafford)

                    Although Mother was a Watertown girl, she had followed her crippled
                    sister Fern (polio epidemic victim) to the capitol, hoping Fern could get
                    her work at the State House too, but there was a rule that only one
                    member of a family could work there, so Mother became a waitress. The
                    story I was told was that when Daddy saw Mother walking down the
                    street for the first time, he told a friend "I'm going to marry that girl in the
                    blue hat." (Waldon Warren Stafford married Corinne Gertrude
                    Heathcote in Huron, South Dakota in December of 1933)

                    Moved back to Watertown when I was about a year old-

                    Learning to walk, I walked over to the stove and pulled a pan of hot
                    bacon grease down on me, just missing my face and eyes- I was wearing
                    a crocheted dress, and the doctor had to go into the blisters and cut
                    away each string. I had my hands tied so I couldn't scratch at the burns,
                    so I learned to feed myself my bottle with my feet, but the nurse got so
                    mad because everytime I finished a bottle, I threw it over the side of the
                    crib. All baby bottles were glass in those days. Mother got mad because
                    she had to re-potty-train me when I finally came home from the hospital.

                    Daddy died in '41 before his reserve unit was called up for WWII- He
                    went into the hospital for a liver ailment, and the day he was supposed to
                    be discharged, he contracted spinal meningitis and died 3 days later. A
                    hospital is no place for a sick person. (Mother was told later that almost
                    all those boys in his cavalry unit died in the war.)

                    Grandpa Heathcote had lost his farm in the depression, and Grandpa,
                    Grandma and Uncle Bugs (also a polio victim, but the damage was to his
                    heart) lived in town in a little house with no indoor plumbing- As I
                    compare my life to theirs, I know I am so lucky. Out of 5 children, they
                    had 2 children damaged terribly by polio, another son who contracted
                    TB in the army when he was stationed in China and died in their living
                    room begging them to hit him over the head with a hammer and end all
                    the pain, and they lost all material possessions in the depression. The
                    daughter with polio died one month after her brother from an infected
                    tooth and was shipped home with her unborn baby at her feet in the
                    coffin. One of the grandchildren died from measles. Grandpa and Uncle
                    Bugs died 3 days apart.

                    Because Mother had to work full-time to support us, I was a "latch key"
                    kid before anyone had to lock doors. As I was a sickly kid, Mother was
                    advised to find some way to be home with me more. She had a boy
                    cousin who had custody of his four kids (Loretta age 10, Marian 9,
                    George 5, and Eddie 4) and owned a 2-story house. I was age 7 and
                    smack dab in the middle. Mother and Uncle Hepsy agreed to try to raise
                    these rapscallions together. Mother and I moved into 2 rooms upstairs.
                    Boy, do we have some good stories about those years before Uncle
                    Hepsy decided to farm. (These were also the years of World War II. As
                    we were too poor to afford a car, we didn't miss buying gas; too poor to
                    afford meat so food stamps were no big problem. Mother did object to
                    having to paint her "silk" stockings on with body paint, and I hated having
                    to squeeze the new margarine packets so that the yellow pellet would
                    turn the white, lard-colored margarine to a butter yellow.) I never again
                    ate margarine after I had a choice. My kids loved to give me the
                    margarine test and I never failed one. I can tell real butter at 20 paces.

                    Moved to Fullerton, Calif when Mother remarried (summer before I
                    started 6th grade 1946?)-

                    Started working for my room and board in my junior year of high school
                    with a wonderful family who became my second family- Mr. Prey, a
                    teacher at the high school, lived next door to the Busters, and when
                    Mother told him I needed a home, he asked his neighbor if they could
                    take me in. When I first went there, there were 4 children, the youngest
                    still in diapers. Several years later when this youngest boy was listening to
                    his mother tell someone about her children, he said "You forgot Connie."
                    He was astounded to learn I wasn't really a sister. No one had ever
                    thought to explain to him what the deal was. I lived with them for five
                    years, moving with them to Chicago.

                    Graduated from Fullerton Union High School, Fullerton, Calif 1953-

                    Graduated from Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Ill. BA in English
                    2/1957- Member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority- Did my practice teaching
                    with accelerated juniors and seniors in English at Lake Forest High

                    Taught 7th grade English and Social Studies at Orange Jr. High and
                    Yorba Jr. High (the first year it was opened), Orange, Calif- The first day
                    I taught, I was the third teacher the "C and Under" class had had, and the
                    pencil erasers were whizzing past my head. I went home and said I'd
                    never go back. They told me I had to as I had signed a contract. That
                    summer, I had nightmares that I entered my new class and had the same
                    darn students. (The principal gave me one "C and Above" class to help
                    bring me out of shock.)

                    Taught 7th grade English at Wilshire Jr. High where I had graduated,
                    (Fullerton, Calif) with my own jr. high teachers and Miss Sterns, my Ford
                    Elem 6th grade teacher, as my master teacher-

                    Taught 7th grade English at Ladera Vista Jr. High, Fullerton, Calif the 1st
                    year it was opened-

                    Taught 12th grade English at Bolsa Grande High School, Garden Grove,

                    During my husband's Air Force active duty, lived in San Antonio, Tx,
                    Gulfport, Miss, Ft. Worth, Tx, and Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico.

                    Son #1 (Peter Stafford Van Horn) born at Keesler AFB, Miss 5/22/64-
                    Natives said it was the worst winter in 25 years (about 6 inches snow on
                    the gulf coast).

                    Son #2 (Christopher William Van Horn) born at Carswell AFB, Tx

                    (Got no Puerto Ricans, but my friend had 2 babies there, so it evened
                    out.) The first year we were there, it was the worst drought in 25 years.
                    The second year we were there, it was the most rain in 25 years. When
                    we were due to return to Calif, it was the month Calif was supposed to
                    fall into the ocean- we didn't dare tell any of our friends we were due
                    back as they wouldn't have let us deplane.

                    Whenever the boys would act awful, my husband would say "What can
                    you expect for 6 bucks?" (In the AF then, maternity expenses were only
                    for the dependent's food eaten while in the hospital when the baby was

                    Lived in Pedley, Calif, near Riverside while my husband worked for the
                    telephone co in San Bernadino- The boys were ready for kindergarten
                    and nursury school. We were asking Peter questions he might be asked
                    at school. "What's your name?" He answered "Peter Van Horn." "What's
                    your father's name?" He answered "Bill Van Horn." "What's your
                    mother's name?" He answered "Connie Faiola." "What! Don't tell the
                    teachers that! Where'd you get that idea?" It turned out he thought the
                    boys were named Van Horn, but that the girls (my friend in Puerto Rico
                    and I) were named by her last name. (Kind of like when I was little and
                    thought all cats were girls and all dogs were boys.)

                    Moved to Encanto (San Diego suburb) for 1 wonderful year- I loved it
                    there even though Chris got knocked into the turtle pond at Sea World
                    before we even got in the door one time. We had memberships to both
                    the San Diego Zoo and to Sea World. We would go to Sea World just
                    to eat dinner. (Fish, of course. We weren't even aware of the irony. Of
                    course, years later, I went to see "Babe" at the movies and then ate bbq
                    pork. Thank goodness my grandaughter was too young to know what
                    we were eating.)

                    Moved to Huntington Beach, Calif- The boys went to 1st and 2nd
                    through 4th and 5th grades there.

                    Moved to Santa Ana, Calif (really the county- Santa Ana address, Tustin
                    schools)- Chris started 5th grade and Peter started 6th grade and they
                    stayed through high school graduation.

                    I was one of the fortunate mothers who got to be home with her children
                    while they were growing up, and I will always be grateful for that. It was

                    Started learning about computers so I could understand my husband's
                    work- I entered Saddleback College when Peter started Foothill High
                    School. I was really impressed that the young college students thought
                    nothing of the age difference and made us older students feel just as
                    welcome and as part of the school as they were. I made friends of all
                    ages- many of whom I work with today.

                    I liked applications programming better than system programming so I
                    still don't know what my husband's doing.

                    Taught COBOL part-time at Saddleback College, Begin and Adv
                    COBOL, Basic, and Intro to Computers at Cal State Univ, Fullerton,
                    and Intro at Santa Ana and Orange Park Acres Colleges and now work
                    part-time in the Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College computer
                    labs helping students with their homework, one on one- We figure I
                    earned about 25 cents an hour by the time I planned the lectures, gave
                    the lectures and graded the print charts, record layouts, flowcharts, and
                    read every line of code. (Hopefully, I helped avert the Y2K potential
                    disaster. I get really upset when I hear people scoff at the Y2K "hype". It
                    may seem like it was "hype" because few of the potential problems
                    occurred, but that was because a lot of people worked very hard to
                    solve those problems.)

                    Peter graduated from UCLA as an elec engineer, went into the Navy
                    flight program, but backed out when they wanted to make him a
                    helicopter pilot. He said those things would kill ya. He went to Carnegie
                    Mellon Univ in Pittsburg and got 2 master's degrees and is now at home
                    writing some financial program and mooching off his folks.

                    Christopher went to Cal State Univ, Fullerton, but quit his senior year- (I
                    used to tell the boys how my students would tell me how they had really
                    messed up by quitting college when their parents were paying for it, and
                    how now they were working full-time, and were parents and were having
                    to pay for everything themselves. It made no difference. Chris didn't
                    listen. Now he's doing all those things, trying to get his degree.) He lived
                    in New York for a few years and loved it, but lives in Scottsdale, AZ,
                    now to be closer to his daughter and is doing something in telemarketing
                    (quality assurance or something- traveling a lot to offices all over the
                    states). His little girl lives in Pasadena, Calif and they get to see each
                    other often.

                    People ask me when I'm going to retire. I tell them most people retire
                    and then find a part-time job. I'm just doing it backwards. My health will
                    probably dictate the date- or if I get too cantankerous, they might just fire
                    me. I refuse to travel as I hate it. I won't go anywhere that I can't get
                    back home by midnight so I can feed my animals. I just like being home
                    with my pets and my books and my big yard, so I might as well keep
                    working while I can. (And we need every penny we can get to pay pet
                    food and vet bills.)


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